How do you clean the bottom? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-18-2006 Thread Starter
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How do you clean the bottom?

What do I need to clean the bottom of my boat while its in water? I thought about getting some diving gear, and just go down there with a piece of carpet and a wood block (or a chisel, but I heard that hurts the paint since u are chiseling it away) and just scrape everything off? or is there some other way of doing this?

are there like special underwater cleaners or something?

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post #2 of 6 Old 01-20-2006
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How do you clean the bottom?

Hi razorseal!!
I already cleaned sometime the bottom of a boat and it is a hard work. If the length of your boat is bigger than ten meters I don''t recommend you unless you dive with an aqualung or you have a very big lungs.
To clean the bottom, the best is water at full pressure although if you have time you can also use a spatula taking care of the paint.
The best solution it''s to take off the boat from the water, to clean it on land and to paint the bottom with a special paint to avoid seaweed because if you don''t do that, you will have to dive for cleaning every months.
Another good solution: don''t clean it and wait until mussels have a good size to eat them.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-20-2006
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How do you clean the bottom?

If you were to suit up (with a tank) I wud recommend a scotch-brite pad to remove the growth. I wud suggest you google for a product called dri-diver which does an effective job of cleaning the hull while the boat is in the water and does not require you to go into the water. Good luck..
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-06-2006
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How do you clean the bottom?

I use a window scraper like the ones used to remove ice good grip and does very little to the bottom. Good gloves leather or lobster tough type gloves are a must. The cuts you get from doing bottoms cause what is known as a "secondary marine infection" very bad and leaves a scar permenent and some never heal. Also mix one third alcohol and two thirds Peroxide in a bottle and put it in your ears after you finish it helps wash out any algie or shell fragments that might get in your ears and also kills bacteria that can grow on the bottom like around the head discharge through hull.Scotch pad for the prop after you scrape it the green ones are what we used to polish supertanker props 33+ feet in diamiter, only they were on a hydraulic unit and round. The ablative paint does not need much scrubbing a towell will do the job. If you have ablative paint it is self polishing and sluffs off as it ages to shed groth. So you don''t want to remove very much of it or it will reduce the life of the paint allot. A line pulled fore and aft next to the keel will help when you find that like an astronaut you push and away from the work you go. We used two large magnets when working on ships but then they ain''t fiberglass.Big ships are coated with several layers of epoxie so I put it on my sail boat made for small boats it was by a big name who has said they will make it up to me and buy my paint the next haul out because it did not work.It was a slime fighter shell formula and all failed here in south Florida. The bottom of the boat looked like a coral reef in three months and after cleaning it three times it is like the great barrier reef now and was cleaned smooth three months ago. The barnicals love this stuff and grow real fast in the hot water.The ablative paints are holding up better but still have some shells.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-09-2006
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How do you clean the bottom?

I dive with scuba gear to clean our 48'' ketch and use carpet swatches on the bottom. Fuzzy side if you''re just dressing her up and the coarse woven back side if she needs a little more aggressive cleaning (waterline). A paint scraper with a bronze blade gets the hard stuff off the prop and green scotchbrite for polishing. The paint scraper also gets the impeller for the speedo clean. As noted if the paint is ablative don''t worry too much about scrubbing it, you''ll just shorten the life of your bottom job.

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post #6 of 6 Old 02-23-2006
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This an old thread, so maybe I'm too late, but I'll add my $.02 anyway.

I have made my living doing underwater hull cleaning for 11 years, so the advice I impart here is born of much experience. Unless your hull is very foul or the paint is in poor condition, you will find that Scotchbrite "Doodlebug" pads will do a very good job cleaning. The blue pads will work in most situations. Brown for those hulls that have not been cleaned in a while, white for new paint or bottoms that are cleaned very frequently. If you need to use a black pad, you may as well use a metal scraper. It won't harm the paint any more.

For the running gear, I like to use a Rubbermaid wire brush that has a small scraper on the end. This makes short work of any plant or animal growth on the prop, shaft, strut etc.

You will find that a small suction cup device is almost indespensable for keeping yourself close to the work and giving you some leverage to apply elbow grease when needed. Although I make my own out of the business end of a small plunger and some 3/4" PVC pipe, West Marine (and maybe our hosts, as well) sell a suction cup designed for this use. I wouldn't try to clean a hull without one.

The last tips I would pass on are health/safety related. First, never clean a hull without wearing a hood of some sort, even in warm water. You will be knocking a lot of crud and bugs off of your hull, none of which you want to end up in your ears. Second, never dive a boat that is plugged into the shore power system. Electrocution can ruin your day.
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